Thursday, February 14, 2008

Daisy's school had a "Meeting for the Community" yesterday. This is a meeting where they bring together administrators, parents, students, hobos, midget marsupials, and Xzo?vo! from Planet kPqoook to help guide the direction of the school. Normally I would not attend meetings like this, but the school principal had sent an email to the PTA Board (where I am known as Mike, Lord Secretary!) explaining that our presence at the meeting was expected. So, I showed up.

I strolled into the meeting on Wednesday night with my laptop in hand, hoping to get some work done while the "community" met. However, I immediately noticed the agenda posted on the wall which contained ominous phrases like "Group brainstorming".

Ugh. I was expected to interact. With humans. That's not really one of my strengths.

I plopped onto the bench and put my laptop bag down. A couple minutes later, Mr. Psychologerson entered the room. He came over and expressed pleasure at seeing me at the meeting.

"Yeah," I said, "I figured I'd give it a try, although I suspect this isn't really my thing."

"Oh, this is definitely NOT your thing," he replied, looking unwaveringly directly into my eyes.

The dude had me nailed. Chalk one up for psychology.

The meeting started and the first part wasn't too bad. Overhead slides. Children making speeches. Administrators explaining which four-letter words to use and not use when writing our budget-complaint letters to Governor Schwarzenegger (a title that still rolls off the tongue like a mouthful of marshmallows and peanut butter).

Then, we got to the group-breakout sessions. They gave each group specific questions to contemplate and brainstorm answers for. This part sucked really hard. Brainstorming has several serious flaws:

1) There aren't supposed to be any wrong answers in brainstorming. Mr. Psychologerson could have a brilliant insight, and then I could open my mouth and barf up a burrito, and both of those expressed thoughts would get written down with equal importance.

2) The people who dominate the conversation are those people who like to hear themselves talk. The correlation between good ideas and people who like to talk is very low.

3) People generally ignore the topic and just spew syllables about their pet peeves.

On top of all this, the person writing down our thoughts was an eighth grader. Even the occasional good idea got mangled by the time it made it onto her paper. The end result was several pounds of chaff with a few grains of wheat. That is going to be some crappy bread.

Next time I'm sending Hank.


Avery Gray said...

Nothing good can ever come out of interacting with strange hu-mans. Little better than apes. I'm surprised no one whipped out their goods and a ruler.

My days of PTA are fast approaching. You've given me plenty of reason to dread. Thanks, bud.

Mya said...

I would love to try brain-storming in a French PTA meeting. Panic would take hold of the room in seconds. Oh yes! I'm going to suggest it. If nothing else, it will keep me awake.

Mya x

Siôn said...

Next time, send them an email. According to the brainstorming logic it would be noted as quality input.
I hear there's this new email with a monkey peeing in his mouth. That should do.

Will said...

I like taking notes : ) That way I can filter everything through my brain first.

Mike said...

Avery, I'll admit that I have not kept up on the latest ape research, but I always thought they were more into feces-throwing than penis measuring.

Mya, French PTA schmench PTA! Let's talk about Sarkozy and his new wife! Whoooo! Hubba hubba!

Siôn, I had no idea what you were talking about, but thanks to Google and YouTube, I am once again an informed member of cyberspace. Special thanks to you, of course.

Will, congratulations, I officially nominate you as the Secretary of the PTA. Please attend our next meeting on the 21st.

Will said...

Ok, but I'm going to have to miss all the meetings that don't overlap with Macworld.

Mike said...

Will, just let me know when you relocate out here permanently. SF! Silicon Valley! It's the place for you. And Secretary of the damn PTA is the job for you.